Saturday, March 25, 2017

Online Safety and Reputation Management- YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs

I was involved in a conversation recently about how much trust you should give your followers,  subscribers and other content creators and if it is a good idea to befriend them in real life.  I decided to re-visit the subject because of the next series on RB50.  These things are extremely important to touch on.  Not just for safety, but for protecting your personal brand from harm.

I will be going more in depth on this subject in the next podcast.  If you don't know about the RB50 podcast channel, you might want to check it out because the content there expands quite a bit on the current subject matter on the YouTube channel and the website.  It goes more into personal experiences and details on the subjects that I talk about.

Years ago I had a blog on Myspace and that blog was riddled with life experiences and thoughts.  The entries could be compared to what a vlogger channel does on YouTube today.  I enjoyed it and it had a nice size following.  The main thing that I took away from that blog was a basic understanding of what NOT to do with people that you don't know on the internet.  Like mentioning where you work and other personal information... unless you want people to start showing up there looking for you to say hello and bringing you bags of your favorite candy.  While it may sound cute and harmless, not everyone's intentions were good.

That was over 10 years ago and I have taken that experience and applied it to everything that I have done online for the past 12 years.  In other words, this ain't my first rodeo Fred.  In fact, my original YouTube channel was created on December 27, 2006 so I think it's safe for me to say that I've been on YouTube for a few minutes and have a bit of an understanding on how it works.

When you talk to someone online, you have absolutely no idea WHO you are really talking to.  Many people use fake identities, fake names, and post fake lives.  You meet who they want you to think they are, what they are choosing to show you.

I've said for years that online followers are not your friends.  There's a difference between a friend and an acquaintance.  Followers/subscribers... people that watch you online can become acquaintances but in my book, friendship is reserved for people that I actually know and completely trust in my private life and the reasons are because of personal safety and online reputation management.  You are who you associate with, even if you really aren't.  People perceive you to be exactly like the people you are associated with.  My mother used to tell me to be careful who I ran with and at the time it didn't make any sense to me but as an adult, I can see exactly what she was talking about.

Online reputation management is critical if you are making your living on the internet.  It can literally make you or break you.  That reputation can be easily tarnished by associating with the wrong people and a bad reputation is extremely hard to shake.  Especially if it belongs to someone else and you are guilty simply by association.  It's not being a prude.  It's not being closed minded.  It's protecting years of hard work, money invested into projects and future plans for branding.  It's running your brand into the direction that will gain the most profit instead of gaining a bad reputation that will promote to people that have no interest in buying what you are actually "selling" them. 

Unfortunately the world we live in today isn't filled to the brim with nice people and anyone that has any experience to speak of on the internet already knows these things.  Sometimes we just need a reminder.

You are who you run with even if you really aren't.

Now we'll move on to online safety because it is critical too.  How much information is too much and what's the best way to use social media safely to help build that brand?

Would you give a stranger your home phone number?  Would you give a stranger your home address?  Access to your family members?  The keys to your front door?  The answer to those questions should be no and if it isn't, I hope you never run into any problems but the law of averages says that eventually you will.  

Recently I deleted my personal Facebook page.  I have to have some sort of personal page in order to keep the Facebook pages for my websites and YouTube channels so I'm now using a page that has absolutely no TRUE personal information on it at all, including my name. 

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are cesspools for private information leaks.  Even though we look at them as harmless social media sites, it's important to remember that they are all three in the business of making money through target advertising.  The more personal information that they can get from their users, the better because they can hit you with advertising that you will like, spend your money on and in return make more money for them.  They are not in the business of keeping you safe.

Part of your responsibility as a content creator whether it be on YouTube or your own website is to protect yourself.  Facebook has pages available that contain NO personal information that you can utilize for your presence on the site for your website, blog or YouTube channel.  Allowing followers, subscribers or people you don't know onto your Facebook page that contains your personal information is a recipe for disaster.  Google is riddled with instances of the bad side of allowing strangers onto your personal social media accounts.

Safety and security is up to the user.  If you answered no to the questions that I asked earlier then it's time for you to look at the information that you are providing to people that you really don't know.  I feel this is especially important for content creators.  As your following grows, not everyone will have the best intentions.  Not everyone online is your friend.  Not everyone online is worthy of your friendship.  Not everyone tells the truth and people will unfortunately try to take advantage of you.

As we move forward with making money online, I thought this was a necessary subject to hit.  It would really suck to spend hours learning how to do this and then allow a few small mistakes to tear it all down.

Questions? Comments? Criticisms?  That's what the comment section below is for... use it.